The poppy has become the symbol of remembrance, a way for us to honour the armed forces community past and present.
But we must also not forget the volunteers who give their time each November to run the poppy appeal on behalf of the Royal British Legion.
The Rotherham, Rawmarsh and Parkgate branch of the Royal British Legion is run by a trio of people who are dedicated to raising awareness of the large military community in Rotherham, as well as remembering all those who have served and sacrificed across the country.
Veterans Ron Moffett MBE and Cheryl Jones, and Ron’s wife Sally are the three poppy appeal organisers for Rotherham who co-ordinate the annual event in the borough.
Over the last three years, they have raised over £100,000 from poppy sales in supermarkets across their three areas: Rotherham East, Rotherham West, and Wentworth.
The role of a poppy appeal organiser
But there is more that goes into organising the poppy appeal than just turning up and waiting for donations from the public.
It involves endless hours of preparation, ordering stock for the supermarket stalls, taking poppy packs into schools, making up poppy boxes and delivering them small shops or bars, marking up and logging all collection tins that are sent out across the town, and organising the volunteers who will be manning the stands.
After the appeal has finished, they must then collect all tins, poppy boxes, and school packs, count and bank the cash, log all accounts and send everything back to the British Legion.
How do your donations support the military community?
Wearing a poppy is a very personal choice, reflecting individual experiences and personal memories. It is never compulsory but is greatly appreciated by those who it is intended to support.
The poppy appeal helps the Rotherham, Rawmarsh and Parkgate branch to ensure the continuity of vital services and support for our service personnel, veterans and their families here in Rotherham.
Donations from each poppy go towards providing support in many ways, from befriending services for those who are isolated, help with finances and housing, mental wellbeing support to transition to civilian life, or physical recovery programmes after injury and illness.
Whether you buy a poppy to remember a loved one, or just to show your respect, the team at the Rotherham, Rawmarsh and Parkgate branch of the Royal British Legion thank you for your donations. Look out for their stalls this November.at your nearest supermarket, Wentworth Garden Centre or Rotherham Hospital foyer.
If you would like to volunteer for the poppy appeal in the future or would like a poppy box and collection tin at your venue please email Rotherham.Secretary@RBL.Community
The Rotherham, Rawmarsh and Parkgate branch also acts as a voice for the armed forces community, ensuring that servicemen and women are honoured, respected and have their needs listened to.
In October, they organised a veterans’ seminar at Rotherham Town Hall for a second year. Based on the theme ‘working together is working smarter’, the seminar was attended by many organisations who assist veterans and their families, such as the NHS, Walking with the Wounded, Department for Work and Pensions, The Forces Employment Charity, and Op NOVA.
Former High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Lieutenant Colonel Mac McPherson MBE was instrumental in helping organise the event, which was kindly hosted by Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Robert Taylor.
Cheryl Jones said: “We heard from some amazing speakers and it was interesting to hear their role they play in looking after our armed forces veterans community. By sharing information of the role each charity plays, it gave a better understanding to other armed forces charities and professional services.”
Plans are already underway for next year’s seminar and any charities linked with the armed forces wanting to getting involved can contact Ron Moffett MBE by email firstname.lastname@example.org